Guest Opinions

Do you want to quit tobacco?

Carl Rizzo
Carl Rizzo

Driving home from a smoking cessation class, I realized that so many people who come to cessation classes are really looking for magic. They seem to be looking for the easy way out.

I am Carl, respiratory therapist, pulmonary function technician, asthma educator and tobacco cessation consultant. I teach tobacco cessation classes for Southwest District Health Department (SWDH) and Central District Health Department (CDHD) that have no cost to the participant at all. These classes are provided by the millennium fund ( tobacco companies), to increase the awareness of risks and realities of tobacco use. The truth is that nicotine, in any form, is a carcinogen and a neural toxin to human beings, and any other life form including your cats, dogs, etc. That means that every time you use tobacco in any form (cigarettes, chew, e-cigs, pipes, cigars), you are poisoning yourself and those around you — including your pets. Dogs and cats get emphysema from their owners all the time. When people smoke or uses e-cigs, they only absorb about 20 percent of what they breath in. The rest of what they breath in is blown back out, (about 80 percent) and those around them are subject to these poisons the same as the smoker or e-cig user.

Tobacco cessation is not easy, but it is not as hard as it has been portrayed in the past. If you have a reason to quit and the will to follow through, you will be successful. I believe that people feel a benefit from using tobacco, and I want them to keep the benefits, just change the behavior that is so detrimental to them.

When people start using tobacco in any form, they are looking for a positive thing like being accepted, stress relief or relaxation. The intention is good, but the means has been shown by so many studies to be deadly or debilitating.

The persona of smoking is being passed on from parents and grandparents to children. Children do not commonly think of parents or grandparents as bad people, and if they are not bad people, they do not do bad things. If a child sees a parent or grandparent smoking, the perception to the child is that it is OK because these people do not do bad things. They are aware and they are paying attention.

Learn how to quit tobacco. This will save the average person about $3,500 per year and can change the way you live out your later years. It decreases insurance costs, potential doctor visits, and possibly the need for oxygen and breathing meds later in life. Call your local health district today to find a class near you, or call me today at 208-250-6575 to begin cessation of tobacco classes. You, and all those around you, will be glad you did. SWDH: 208-455-5321; CDHD: 208-327-8543.

Carl Rizzo currently teaches smoking cessation for SWDH and CDHD, is an instructor for Stevens Henager College and critical care instructor for Hill Rom. RRT/RPFT/ AE-c/MBA/CHT/Tobacco Cessation